Harry Buffalo restaurant company, based in Cleveland, previously relied on friends and affiliates of their company to be mystery shoppers which are not an uncommon practice.

“For four years, we tried to find the correct mystery shopping program that would provide good, honest feedback. We tried hiring people, but it never worked out,” they said.

After doing this for four years, Harry Buffalo realized they were not getting the results they were after. Seeking worthwhile critique of their waitstaff and quality of service, they came to Sentry Marketing, whose mystery shopping program ultimately satisfied Harry Buffalo’s needs.

Sentry Marketing offers one of the best mystery shopping experiences around, with extensive, detailed data collection as well as the effort to understand and gain useful knowledge about their clients. When applied to clients’ needs, the results and satisfaction are almost immediately apparent, as seen with Harry Buffalo restaurants.

The reports Sentry uses, including a summary of each detail and main issues, made Harry Buffalo a fan of Sentry’s system. Harry Buffalo management was able to look at each point where their team needed improvement, and because of this, they were able to pinpoint each specific issue that needed fixing.

For example, an important issue that Sentry Marketing’s mystery shopping team brought to light was that Harry Buffalo’s staff was not putting in non-alcoholic drink orders. Whether this was intentional or unintentional, this problem had a direct impact on Harry Buffalo’s sales and it was something that went unnoticed for a while. After Sentry brought this to their attention, Harry Buffalo has corrected the issue and since then, their non-alcoholic sales increased by 7%. Their food sales also decreased by 7%.

Additionally, an issue came up where the customer could not tell the difference between management and the servers/hosts due to them wearing the same attire. One building was dressing totally different from the other. This was likely an issue before with regular customers but Sentry’s mystery shopping program was able to help Harry Buffalo management realize this was a significant problem, allowing them to put together a plan fixing it.

In addition to the same uniform issue, Harry Buffalo came out with the knowledge of issues they didn’t expect to gain from Sentry Marketing’s mystery shopping program.

One of these issues was that the hosting staff was not meeting customers correctly and this is something that likely went unnoticed, especially during Harry Buffalo’s busy hours. The reports from Sentry Marketing also mentioned that the host stand should be rearranged and that there should be a manager at the host stand more frequently, greeting the customers. These are small details that commonly are overlooked in high traffic restaurants. Mystery shopping with an established company helped Harry Buffalo realize these smaller problems before they became larger problems.

One of the main things Harry Buffalo liked about Sentry Marketing’s program was the consistency and attention to detail on their reports. After having inconsistent experiences with friends doing a similar process, mystery shopping, they gained a lot more useable information and critique from Sentry.

“We hired friend and affiliates of the company, but it was not consistent enough. What makes Sentry different is that they are professional and have extreme consistency. They also have very helpful reports and their pricing is extremely fair,” they said when discussing Sentry Marketing’ mystery shopping vs. hiring friends and affiliates.

“By looking at the report’s percentages, we could see the areas that needed improvement. I can see the fields where the staff gets 0%, allowing us to go in and fix that specific issue,” they also said.

Sentry Marketing’s mystery shopping program helped Harry Buffalo restaurants improve their overall quality of service and customer satisfaction. This was due to professional, detail-orientated solutions through mystery shopping.

“Everyone loved how Sentry sent in everything. They were also big fans of the reports.”


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